Men's Water Polo

Not To Be Denied

STOCKTON, Calif. – No. 1 Stanford jumped in front early and never looked back, cruising past No. 5 Pacific 13-8 on Sunday afternoon to capture its first NCAA championship since 2002.

Ben Hallock and AJ Rossman scored three goals apiece for Stanford (21-2), which won its 11th NCAA title and 12th national championship in program history overall.

It's the second NCAA title for head coach John Vargas, who guided Stanford to its most recent NCAA crown back in 2002, when the Cardinal defeated California 7-6 in his first season on The Farm.

"To regroup the way we did after yesterday (beating USC in triple overtime) is really impressive," said the Dunleive Family Director of Men's Water Polo.

Asked if either crown was more meaningful, he said, "I thought a lot about that. It's about these guys. "It's really a special group."

The Cardinal has now won titles in the 70's, 80's, 90's and 2000's.

"Most of the guys on the team were very aware of how how long it had been since we won," said Hallock, named MVP of the Championship. "The championship is a huge credit to the guys who came before us."

Stanford, which swept all three meetings against Pacific this season and has now won six in a row in the series, surged ahead 6-3 after the first period and remained in control throughout.

The Cardinal led 9-3 at halftime and 10-5 after the third quarter.

Andrew Chun finished with five saves in goal, his fewest since also coming up with five against Long Beach State on Oct. 12. But Chun and stout defense held Pacific scoreless in the second quarter and never looked back.

"I thought our defense was unbelievable," he said. "The amount of energy was amazing."

Cardinal players said the national title would not have been possible without great support from assistant coaches Jon Barnea, Brandon Johnson and volunteer assistant Lea Maurer, plus the reserve players.

"It's the people who bring it every single day, keep us honest and challenge us," Tyler Abramson said. 

Added Hallock, "Those guys bring an immense amount of energy in practice. That's so important to us."

Hallock played for TEAM USA in the 2016 Rio Olympics, but called this accomplishment bigger. Especially after losing to USC last year in the NCAA final.

"Personally, it means everything," said Hallock. "It's incredible."

Hallock and Abramson made First Team All-Tournament, while Rossman, Quinn Woodhead, Bennett Williams and Chun received Second Team honors. 

Stanford will host the NCAA Championships in 2020.
After matching its own record with six NCAA titles during the 2018-19 campaign, Stanford is off and running once again. Cardinal varsity teams have now won 124 NCAA championships (67 men, 57 women). Meanwhile, Stanford has won at least one NCAA championship during each of the last 44 years, dating back to the 1976-77 campaign.

Since 2000, Stanford has captured 48 NCAA championships and 63 national championships overall. Of Stanford's 124 NCAA championships, 33 have been won in the fall, 28 in the winter and 63 in the spring.

The Cardinal has an opportunity to pull off a rare double, when women's soccer battles North Carolina at 5:30 p.m. in the NCAA championship held at Avaya Stadium in San Jose.